Ferroelectric behavior in microtubule dipole lattices

Implications for information processing, signaling and assembly/disassembly

J. A. Tuszyński, Stuart R Hameroff, M. V. Satarić, B. Trpisová, M. L A Nip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

132 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cytoskeletal microtubules structurally organize interiors of living eukaryotic cells. As polymers of subunit proteins ("tubulin"), which are each dipoles, microtubules are thus lattices of oriented dipoles. In general, three types of arrangements of dipoles in lattices may occur: (i) random, (ii) ferroelectric (parallel-aligned) and (iii) an intermediate weakly ferroelectric phase, which is length-dependent. Because of involvement in dynamical cell activities (movement, growth, mitosis, differentiation, etc.), models of microtubule signaling and information processing have been proposed. In these, tubulin units are assumed to represent informational "bit states" and to be coupled to intra-tubulin dipoles. In the present paper, we consider microtubules as lattice arrays of coupled local dipole states that interact with their immediate neighbors. Depending on the values of assumed model parameters, the system may exhibit "frustration": conflict in satisfying all dipole couplings. Such systems have properties suitable for efficient information processing and computation. By slightly altering temperature and external field (both within physiological conditions), microtubule dipole lattices may assume a ferroelectric phase with long-range order and alignment with capabilities to propagate kink-like excitations. The ferroelectric phase appears to be optimal for microtubule signaling and assembly/disassembly. Microtubules may organize cell activities by operating in different modes suitable for information processing and computation (intermediate phase) or signaling and assembly/disassembly (ferroelectric phase).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume174
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 1995

Fingerprint

Disassembly
Microtubules
Information Processing
Automatic Data Processing
Dipole
microtubules
Ferroelectric materials
Tubulin
tubulin
Cell
Protein Subunits
Long-range Order
Frustration
Polymers
Eukaryotic Cells
Kink
protein subunits
Temperature Field
Mitosis
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Ferroelectric behavior in microtubule dipole lattices : Implications for information processing, signaling and assembly/disassembly. / Tuszyński, J. A.; Hameroff, Stuart R; Satarić, M. V.; Trpisová, B.; Nip, M. L A.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 174, No. 4, 21.06.1995, p. 371-380.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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